"I set out upon Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire [and] was immediately dominated by both the story and the style," recalled Winston Churchill. "I devoured Gibbon. I rode triumphantly through it from end to end and enjoyed it all....I was not even estranged by his naughty footnotes." In the two centuries since its completion, Gibbon's magnum opus--which encompasses some thirteen hundred years as it swings across Europe, North Africa, and Asia--has refused to go the way of many "classics" and grow musty on the shelves. "Gibbon is a landmark and a signpost--a landmark of human achievement: and a signpost because the social convulsions of the Roman Empire as described by him sometimes prefigure and indicate convulsions which shake the whole world today," wrote E.M. Forster. Never far below the surface of the magnificent narrative lies the author's wit and sweeping irony, exemplified by Gibbon's famous definition of history as "little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind."
The third volume contains chapters forty-nine through seventy-one of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
This first installment in Naxos's ambitious audio edition of Gibbon's classic history of the Roman Empire boasts a standout performance from veteran narrator Timson. Beginning in 14 C.E. during the time of Augustus, this volume covers everything up to 324 C.E. when Constantine the Great becomes emperor of Rome. While reading a history of this size and scope would likely prove an immense challenge to any narrator, Timson handles his duties with great aplomb. His narration is crisp, clear, and commanding. His tone is both intellectual and full of authority, and he modifies his pacing and annunciation to highlight points of particular importance or interest. When reading footnotes to the text, Timson slightly alters his tone to signal to readers the transition to and from these ancillary sections. This masterful performance of a classic work is a must listen for anyone who loves history.